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Why is Point du Hoc important?

This location could launch heavy artillery to both Omaha and Utah beaches as well as Navy ships at sea.  Just as  important, cutting off the road to those beaches prevented a land-based counter attack.

The Germans never expected any soldiers to be able to climb the cliffs to attack.  So that's exactly what the Rangers were assigned to do.


direction to Omaha Beach to the left                                                    direction to Utah Beach to the right


Author's note:  By May 2010, the edge of Pointe Du Hoc had deteriorated to the point that it was being rebuilt and was closed and fenced off to the public.  It was foggy and the main cliff was not easily visible.  I travelled 5700 km to see this cliff and I was not going to let a fence stop me.  I jumped the fence and ran to the very end of the cliff where only barbed wire stopped the advance.  But I did get this picture below.  This was easy because in 2010, no-one was shooting back...



US Army Rangers scaled these cliffs under intense German fire using only ropes and later,
skinny but long ladders provided by the London Fire Department.




The heavy artillery was quickly found in a rear area.  Their mechanisms were rendered useless by the use of
Thermite grenades which melted the mechanics of the guns.  This act undoubtedly saved thousands of lives.



The Rangers arrived 35 minutes behind schedule due to a navigational error. 
That delay gave the Germans time to regroup after the extremely heavy bombardment as seen above.



This bunker later became Colonel Rudder's command post.  The US Army Rangers survived four counter attacks.
Col. James Rudder later became President of Texas A&M University






                                                                                     The author





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For further reading on Pointe du Hoc: